Super Eagles’ media officer, Toyin Ibitoye has ruled out speculation about false excuses given by some of the players invited for next week’s international friendly against Ukraine, as he stressed that all lads in the Nigerian national team remain committed to the task of honouring the nation’s call and making their compatriots proud.
He specifically pointed out that Leicester City midfielder, Wilfred Onyinyen Ndidi, Leganes of Spain defender, Kenneth Omeruo and AS Monaco of France attacker, Henry Onyekuru all had to withdraw from Tuesday’s game at Dnipro-Arena because of one sensitive issue of the other, but he insisted those instances should not be taken as lack of commitment to the national team.
Although he admitted it was surprising to see Ndidi play all 90 minutes for his club last weekend in the English Premier League, after withdrawing few days earlier from the Eagles’ friendly due to injury, Ibitoye stressed that there is still no cause to doubt the commitment levels of The Foxes’ star, who he recalled has always been active for the Eagles.
He went on to point out that the situation in which many Nigerian players changed clubs during the summer transfer window made it such that they all have to settle down at their new bases, while some of them are also facing issues of work permit and renewal of their residency papers.
Ibitoye told Brila FM: “These kind of withdrawals are one of the challenges of international football. The season is still new, many of the players have moved to new clubs, and some of them have issues with work permit or residency papers.
“That’s why Onyekuru had to pull out, and Emmanuel Dennis (Bonaventure) has been called up to replace him. We won’t like a situation in which a player travels out of his base and cannot return there because of irregular papers.
‘Yes, we were surprised to see Ndidi play the full duration for his club last weekend, but I am sure he must have some genuine reasons for that. We have no doubt about the commitment levels of all our players.”